Urban Districts Would Get Boost Under Malloy Education Funding Plan

An old fight in the General Assembly between poorer urban areas, and wealthier suburban towns could start even before the governor provides his budget address Wednesday.

The governor, during a visit to Smalley Academy in New Britain, said the state needs to have viable answers to a judge's ruling last summer that the state's existing Education Cost Sharing, or ECS formula as it's known, is unconstitutional.

“It’s better that we figure out how to resolve this issue as opposed to leaving it up to the courts," Gov. Dannel Malloy said.

The governor, keeping with his theme of the last week, unveiled the ideas two days before he provides his spending plan for the next two fiscal years.

He wants to factor in current enrollment in school funding, and to ensure that poorer school districts receive boosts, that the governor conceded may need to come from wealthier cities and towns.

New Britain Schools Superintendent Nancy Serra said it's not too much to ask, saying, “We need to pull together as a State of Connecticut to say, all of our kids matter, every one of them.”

Malloy also wants to create a new kind of education grant that's specifically for special education, and boost state funding for the program by $10 million. Cities and towns had said last month that they want the state to take over all funding for special education. The governor struck down that concept.

“I want municipalities to handle it all but I guess we’re going to have to compromise somewhere in the middle.”

Joe DeLong, the Executive Director of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, said in a statement in response to Gov. Malloy's proposal, "Any attempt to shift the burden of education funding off of the state and onto our local communities is clearly, as denoted in CCJEF vs Rell, a violation by the state of its constitutional responsibilities."

Malloy said he would rather come up with solutions now, instead of paying for consequences later.

“We are failing children in urban environments. We are failing children because their parents are poor and it’s not right, and by the way, it’s not constitutional in Connecticut.”

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